World Blood Donor Day 2022 and status of Voluntary Blood Donation

World Blood Donor Day 2022 and status of Voluntary Blood Donation

/ Guest Column / Tuesday, 14 June 2022 16:46

By: Dr. A. Barindra Sharma
World Blood Donor Day is celebrated worldwide on June 14 every year, the day being chosen to commemorate the birth anniversary of Karl Landsteiner who discovered the ABO blood group system and was awarded Nobel Prize.. The aim is to raise global awareness of the need for safe blood and blood components for transfusion and of critical contribution voluntary blood donors make to national health systems. The day also provides an opportunity to alert the national and state health authorities to support and expand the voluntary blood donation programmes.
The theme for 2022 World Blood Donor Day is “Donating blood is an act of solidarity. Join the effort and save lives”. The message highlights the roles voluntary blood donors play in saving lives and enhancing solidarity within communities . It reinforces the global call for more people all over the world to donate blood regularly and contribute to better health. Blood shortages are particularly acute in under-developed and developing countries including our country.
The covid-19 pandemic has severely stressed the health care system in the last two years including blood services. There have been restricted blood donation camps with limited number of donors. In spite of all these difficulties, many social organizations, student bodies, paramilitary forces and individual donors have contributed to meet the crisis. We express our gratitude to all. The extraordinary effort during a time of unprecedented crisis highlights the crucial role of committed voluntary blood donors in ensuring blood supply to meet the demand.
Why should we donate blood?
Safe blood and blood products are critical in modern health care system..Every second there is someone who requires blood. In India, every year about 13 million (1% of 1.3 billion population) units of blood are required, out of which only about 11 million units are available from the blood centres, a shortfall of 2 million blood units. There is no substitute for blood. It can neither be manufactured nor available as a drug/commodity in the market. It can’t be used from other animals. The only source is from human beings. The demand is ever increasing because of accidents/ emergencies or complicated surgeries or childbirth or natural disasters. Many patients of cancer, blood disorders like thalassaemia, sickle cell anaemia, aplastic anaemia, etc. require repeated blood transfusions. In many countries including India, the demand always exceeds supply, and the blood services face the challenge of making sufficient blood available while also ensuring its quality and safety.
Blood donation is harmless:
The blood volume in male is 76ml/kg.body wt. and in female 66ml/kg.body wt. Body requires about 50ml/kg.body wt. for all normal physiological functions, the rest is surplus. We are donating a fraction from this surplus volume. No extra diet is required after donation. Any individual of 18- 65 years with Hb 12.5gm%, body wt. 45 kg, normal BP and Pulse can donate blood every 3 months (male) and every 4 months(female) without any harm to the body. By donating blood you are saving 3 lives, besides keeping you physically and mentally healthy.
Status in Manipur:
Voluntary blood donation is low in our state coming to about 30% as compared to other states and the national average of approximately 84%. The main reason is lack of awareness, fear and myths among the general public. Notwithstanding the difficulties, there is an increasing trend in awareness and voluntary blood donation in the state in the last 4-5 years with support from National Health Mission and MACS, Manipur. The major burden of blood supply in the state is borne by RIMS. The monthly requirement in RIMS is about 1000 blood units. To mitigate the shortage, more than 90% of blood units are separated into components (Packed RBC, Platelet and FFP) and supplied to the patients. In 2021 (Jan –Dec), the total blood collection was 10,005 units and the total supply was 15,120 (RIMS).
Benefits of blood donation : Medical science says
1. Regular blood donation decreases the excess amount of iron in the body which is very toxic, thereby reducing the risks of heart and liver diseases particularly in males.
2. The excess of cholesterol associated with risk of heart disease and hypertension can also be cut down with regular blood donation.
3. Blood donation allows synthesis of new blood physiologically, which is functionally more efficient, besides improving the body’s immunity.
4. Blood donation also burns calories and helps in body weight control
5. Blood donation also improves the mental status and morality. It imparts the sense of self satisfaction that your blood will save three lives.
6. Every donated blood is tested for Blood group and TTI (HIV, HBV, HCV, Syphilis and Malaria) free of cost in addition to physical medical check-up. A donor card is also issued to every donor.
Some suggestions for increasing voluntary blood donation:
* Inclusion of voluntary blood donation in school syllabus to generate awareness at the fundamental level for the future eligible donors.
* Incentives to voluntary blood donors in the form of preference in academic admission and hostel accommodation, free parking fee, free bus travel, etc.
* Awareness through media and news channels by emphasizing the importance of blood donation.
* Involvement of public leaders and celebrities in the awareness campaigns to show as role models and to spread the message of importance of blood donation.
* Incentives and financial assistance to Voluntary Blood Donor Groups for awareness and motivation at the community level.
* Recognition of regular Voluntary Blood Donors as heroes.
Blood Safety and Quality
The safest blood comes from the regular voluntary blood donor in whom the rate of transfusion transmissible infections (TTI) is much lower. To provide an additional layer of safety to the recipients/ patients, RIMS has started NAT screening from 1st January, 2021 which is supposed to be the best method available in the world at present. Even family/relative/replacement donor is not safe because he is compelled to give blood and may conceal some of the facts in pre-donation counseling. It is reported that any blood transfusion has 1% risk of complications including TTI. Honest self declaration by the donor is also equally important. Your involvement and support will help to ensure availability of safe blood and blood components for the needy patients.
Let’s remember: “Tears of a mother cannot save her child. But your blood can”
“Among flowers- the ROSE. Among human beings-the BLOOD DONOR”
“A few drops of your Blood can help a life to Bloom”.
(The writer is a Prof. & H.O.D., Transfusion Medicine, RIMS, Imphal)

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